Tonight the winners of the Dutch Game Awards were announced at the leading award show for Dutch game developers. This twelfth edition of the award show took place during Dutch Media Week at Beeld en Geluid in Hilversum.


The Dutch Game Awards has several categories, from \’Best Game\’ to \’Best Innovation\’ and four special awards. The winners are chosen by a professional and diverse jury. In addition to an award, the winners also receive a place in the collection of Sound and Vision, where the titles are preserved as cultural heritage for eternity. And the winners are…!

Best Game: Horizon: Forbidden West – Guerrilla Games
Best Art: Horizon: Forbidden West – Guerrilla Games
Best Audio: Horizon: Forbidden West – Guerrilla Games
Best Innovation: Stacklands – Sokpop Collective
Best Technology: Horizon: Forbidden West – Guerrilla Games
Best Game Design: We Were Here Forever – Total Mayhem Games
Best Applied Game: Hackshield in de klas – HackShield Future Cyber Heroes
Best Debut Game: Cat Cafe Manager – Roost Games
Best Student Game: All Hands on Deck – Studio Mantasaur (HKU)

The jury chose Horizon: Forbidden West as winner in the categories Best Game, Best Art, Best Audio en Best Technology: It makes our Dutch hearts swell with pride that this console-selling masterpiece was created right in the middle of Amsterdam. Horizon: Forbidden West is a world class title where nothing has been overlooked or neglected. The art provides an immersive experience, the audio is among the highest level in the global industry and the game sets a new benchmark in AAA technologies. This game puts the Netherlands on the map for the worldwide game industry, and even the broader media press.”   

Total Mayhem Games picked up the award for Best Game Design with We Were Here Forever: “The jury really enjoyed the clever puzzle design. Even though the timed puzzles can be really frustrating, it is well balanced by the rewarding feeling of victory when the solution is achieved. True collaboration is key in the core of this game design. It teaches you to clearly describe what you see and to listen well. Even when you play this game with a complete stranger, it still creates a bond and there is this spark of joy when you are reunited with your fellow adventurer.“

Stacklands by Sokpop Collective wins Best Innovation: “The jury was very impressed by the clever implementation of the progression system and non-linear storybuilding. The true innovation here is how a simple mechanic is used to create satisfying and ever-challenging puzzles that leave you wanting more. Expect games “inspired” by Stacklands very soon.”

All Hands on Deck is chosen as Best Student Game “because of the fresh take on local co-op gameplay! The jury never felt rushed by the game mechanics and enjoyed the straightforward and relaxing puzzles. The game comes with a good sense of humor and very polished gameplay. This game felt like one made by developers, skilled way beyond their young age!”  

Best Debut Game is won by Cat Cafe Manager: “The cuteness and characters actually build upon the game design and mechanics. Having those in balance creates a cat-tastic and compelling game experience.\”

Hackshield in de Klas wins Best Applied Game: “Hackshield deals with relevant and current challenges in our society. The game offers a rich world with many themes and quests. The game is well implemented in the educational setting and shows a high production value.\”

Special Awards
The special awards were created for the studios, individuals or initiatives that sometimes operate more in the background, but are important to the Dutch game industry. The winners of the Special Awards are:

Best Studio: Codeglue
Inclusion Award: Emily Jacometti
Career Achievement: Alessandra van Otterlo
Awesome Achievement: Sokpop Collective 

Codeglue wins the Best Studio award because: “Studio owners Peter and Maurice have gone above and beyond to keep their staff safe and healthy during COVID, trying to keep them connected and motivated. To quote their staff: “Working at Codeglue feels like you’re with family. Peter and Maurice always try to find ways to make it even more enjoyable to work at Codeglue. They not only want employees to succeed at our studio, they want employees to succeed in every area of their life and be happy and healthy overall.\””

The Inclusion Award goes to Emily Jacometti this year: In recent years Emily has really helped Flavour to lead by example when it comes to their inclusivity and hiring policy. Next to this, Emily is involved in several initiatives like FemIT from the HvA, Women in Tech, and as advisor to the HKU. As a board member to the DGA she’s been putting her best foot forward to develop a Code of Conduct for the Dutch game industry. Wherever Emily sees an opportunity to open up the industry for more diversity and break the mould, she’s on it.   

The Career Achievement award has been won by Alessandra van Otterlo: This award is a recognition of EVERYTHING she’s done for the games industry…so far! Next to keeping us all informed online through Control Online and and managing countless live events like Control Conference, the European Game Showcase and in the past the Holland Pavilion and Festival of Games, she also handles countless volunteer jobs. She’s an advisor to several conferences, has mentored and helped multiple people to kick off their game careers, managed the Student GDC grant, the Amsterdam Game Borrel, etc. She connects you with relevant people in the game industry (whether you ask for it or not ;). Always ready to be the voice of the minority and a true fighter for diversity. Alessandra, rock on!\”

Last but not least, the Awesome Achievement award goes to Sokpop Collective: “Sokpop has its own take on how the game business works. Their business structure is a collective rather than a studio, where the success of one game flows back into supporting new creative work. Their business model of “one game per month subscription” is highly unusual. The community support they receive through their Patron subscriptions serve as proof that this community driven path is a success. We look forward to many more months of Sokpop games!”

Find the complete jury reports on the Dutch Game Awards website. View the full ceremony recording here.

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